The Waiting Room – the beginnings of an idea


A friend told me that when she first received a diagnosis of cancer, they locked the door and that’s how she knew it was bad news. This project is about opening those doors. We want to make an online creative space for those affected by cancer, those who work with them, and those who wish to connect. We will use video and interactive documentary in combination with poetry to talk about the impact of cancer on people’s lives. We will create digital gifts that you can send to someone you care about. We hope these gifts will be moving, funny, insightful and emotional. What they will not be is silent.

Here’s a poem about my first meeting with designer and film maker Kerry Bradley which hopefully gives a flavour of what we hope to achieve. If you would like to get involved or to know more about the project, please email Also check out my personal blog

Tea At The Landmark Hotel

We sit in a glass dome of piano playing
and afternoon tea. The scones so posh
I barely dare to eat them. You tell me
how your first memories are of worrying
that your mother would die,
how she was diagnosed when you were seven
and taken when you were twenty four.

These tales of trauma shimmer in the reflection
of the teapot. I spread the cream and thick scarlet jam,
remembering my own mother eating strawberries
in a garden with such intense relish
because she knew she had so little time left.

Some people think to speak of such things
is morbid. They shut themselves up
in the silence of their fears.
Yet the words of loss between us
make the sky above such an intense shade
of Autumn blue, I think perhaps
there is an art to kindness.

If only we let ourselves pour
the silver glitter from the spout,
drink the magic of grief
that knows we are all the ghosts
of guests haunting a hotel lobby,
admiring how the tea tray
catches a pool of sunlight.

by Aoife Mannix

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